The Development Of Individual Conscience In Twain's Huckleberry Finn

1633 words - 7 pages

In the novel, individual conscience plays a big role on the lives of the characters. Throughout the novel, Jim and Huck help each other to find their true identities through their journey down the river, although they are both very different, in social class, race, and view on society and the world, they are able to form a father-son relationship in which Huck is able to mature and grow his conscience. Jim is able to mold Huck’s conscience into the way it should be, not the way society wants it should be. Mark Twain uses Huck in the novel to the reader that when it comes to friendship, race should never be an issue, and that individual conscience is far more important than society’s opinion. Jim forces Huck to take a closer look at the society he lives in, the realities of slavery, and he helps Huck to better understand the lives of black slaves, Huck therefore understands slavery from not only the white perspective. Jim not only helps Huck to develop his conscience, but he also helps him to understand why the freedom of any man is the most important thing in the world, Jim becomes his father in a sense, therefore Jim is able to let Huck see the world from the perspective of a slave.

Huck not only begins to se the negative side effects of slavery but, he begins to see things from different perspectives, and he begins to bring about the development of his conscience and his understanding of the backwards society he lives in because of it. Huck shows a great growth of conscience when he decides to not turn Jim in and instead decides to lie and protect a slave, which in turn for fits his own life, he begins to understand that individual conscience is more important that the views of society. He lies and says that his family has the small pox:
“Keep away boy, keep to looard.”
“Your Pap’s got the small pox and you know it precious well.” (90).
Huck lies in order to keep Jim safe; however by doing so he is risking his own life to help Jim, a runaway slave. Huck begins to familiarize himself with Jim to the point where Jim almost becomes like a father to him, and in a way, Jim is able to mold Huck’s mind into what it is supposed to be, not what society wants it to be. His is shown when huck tricks Jim and then is able to humble himself to him and apologize; he drops society’s ideas here as he is apologizing to a worthless runaway slave in the eyes of society. This shows Hucks abandonment of society and the nest sign of significant growth of conscience:
“It was a good fifteen minutes before I could humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterward, neither.” (86).
This shows that Hucks own individual conscience in the novel is blossoming, and that Huck is finally becoming more of a man.

It is clear throughout the novel that Huck was not raised as part of proper society, in the beginning, however, he does face many different pieces of society so to speak which makes him choose his own views before those of a...

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